TORC is a cat with a big heart and big dreams. No feline fantasies of cat-and-mouse for this furry guy, who instead aspires to become a great explorer and detective. And his desire to share his adventures with children is the catalyst for this captivating book that will have little ones cheering his latest escapade. When the sleeping kitty is awakened by cries for help, TORC springs into action to save a fleeing bunny from the clutches of Greedy Tom, a neighboring cat. After TORC saves the day, he and the bunny, whom he names “Mr. Lucky,” become fast friends. That’s when TORC learns his new friend needs his help more than ever.
TORC THE CAT SAVES THE BUNNY is a sweet tale that delivers enough warm fuzzies to charm tots and parents, alike. The author’s illustrations have a realistic quality, but enough whimsy to invite finger-pointing and smiles of delight. They aptly serve to bring the story to life in a way words alone cannot for the toddler crowd. The language is bright and simple enough for young children to readily comprehend, though words such as “defenseless” and “foiled” might require a bit of explanation. While broadening young readers’ vocabulary is always desirable, it’s the do-good messages that are of greatest import in this story. For instance, when the compassionate cat learns his bunny friend, Mr. Lucky, is a homeless orphan, TORC takes measures to remedy the unfortunate situation. Mr. Lucky isn’t just lucky – he is LUCKY.
The satisfying conclusion is not the end of the story, however. The author goes on for a few more pages to introduce the real TORC, whom she dubs a “one of a kind cat.” She reveals that the story is based on actual events, then proceeds to retell it in more detail. Photographs of the real animals are shared, which is sure to elicit some drawn-out awwws. While parents and older children may enjoy such an addendum, this true-to-life version of the story relies on a more advanced vernacular and isn’t likely to keep little ones engaged with a straight reading. A simple revelation that TORC, Greedy Tom and Mr. Lucky are real critters, along with a few adorable photos, would perfectly suffice and nix the risk of losing the intended audience’s rapt attention. Still, TORC is one lovable detective kitty whose story of standing up to bullies, helping those in need and making friends with others is not only instructive, but engaging enough to be added to any child’s storybook rotation.
TORC THE CAT SAVES THE BUNNY enchants from the get-go with a story and illustrations brimming with energy, charm and a worthwhile moral that will warm the hearts of both toddlers and parents.
~Libby Wiersema for IndieReader